Movie #330 2020: Stardust (2007)

Stardust isn’t exactly a Christmas film, but there’s something innately Christmassy about fantasy family movies, isn’t there?

This one was ladies’ choice, as in, it was my girlfriend’s turn to choose a movie. Based on the novel of the same name, Stardust focuses on a never-before-seen fantasy world in which a small countryside village shares a border with a magical land, separated only by a wall. Very Game of Thrones/Hadrian’s Wall. When a young man crosses the border to retrieve a fallen star for his lover, he gets way more than he bargained for and learns of his real family ties.

A movie that’s pretty modern but also includes Shakespearean references and has some Labyrinth type fantasy vibes? Love it. This movie is clearly an amalgamation of inspirations from other media, including things like Macbeth, Hocus Pocus, and there are even sequences that are very Hook in nature, but that’s okay. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, is it not?

There are so many different plot lines in this that you’ll simply lose track of the story you’re not careful. Though I’m not sure kids would have a clue what’s going on despite clearly having labelled this review as a ‘family film’, there are enough unicorns and mystical flashes of light to keep them entertained at least. For the adults, though, there’s a certain amount of attention you have to pay to this in order to follow it, and it ends up being far more complicated (and not always in a bad way) than you’d expect.

Some questionable acting takes place at times, but at least Mark Strong and Queen Michelle Pfeiffer are there to up the ante, playing two pretty brilliant villains. Plus, Mark Williams plays a goat so shout out to him for the humour, and Robert de Niro is wonderful as the unexpected good guy. (Yes, Robert de Niro is in this film. And he’s pretty great in it too.)

It all gets a little long and dreary in the mid-section, but Jane Goldman loves a long ass script at the best of times, doesn’t she? What she (and co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn) does here though is create some pretty good comedy and a fully-realised, interesting fantasy world. (Yes, based on a book, but brought to life quite well for the big screen.)

Overall, it is unmistakably too long and it’s not really the most memorable film of all time, but it was original and fun with some decent CGI so… I guess that means it’s a 4 star masterpiece.

Stardust is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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